I had to run to my beloved Wegmans the other day to buy some paper towels. Paper towels? Really?
I know, right?
If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I have this thing for Wegmans. I mean, if I walked out of that store with just a couple rolls of paper towels, then I’d be mighty disappointed. We’d ALL be disappointed!! Ok, yes…paper towels were on the list, but it’s a given that I’ll be walking out of there with a few things that I “need”.
Seriously, I’ve gone in for one thing….
Got sidetracked with all of the wonderful displays…
And walked out with more than just that one thing I went in to begin with…
Honestly…I’m a sucker for displays, especially at Wegmans. Let’s talk about this for a couple of minutes…
Stores see me coming from miles away, and I swear they build them just for me. The most dangerous displays are the ones with kitchen supplies, and I’ll spend forever standing there studying everything!
Even the displays at the cash registers: Candy, Cracker Jacks, pop, gum, dryer vent catch the lint thingys, lip balm, ear buds that break after one use, pens, nail clippers, breath spray… yep…I’m your girl. I’m the one who keeps those displays alive… and I have a drawer filled with junk at home to prove it… I’m sure that there is a medical name for my display obsession “condition”…
Anyway…back to my shopping trip…
Walking through the produce department there was a beautiful display of asparagus. It was perfectly thin, although I know that asparagus can be just as tender when it’s thick, as it is thin. It really doesn’t matter to me…I love it. I could eat it every day.. I couldn’t pass it up, and two bundles made their way into my cart.
As I was rounding the corner from the produce section into the cheese shop, there sat a display of Sweet Cheddar. Sweet Cheddar? I’d never heard of it, and naturally…my first thought that it was sweet…as in sugary sweet. But Caitlyn, the girl who works in the cheese shop assured me that there was no sweetness to it at all, and gave me a sample. She was right… it’s a very creamy type of cheddar, and the only way I’d want to explain it is that there is more of a mellow sharpness to it. When I say creamy, I don’t mean a soft cheese, because it still has that sharp cheese crumble, but it has a creaminess to the taste.
Caitlyn also mentioned that she likes to buy the garlic mashed potatoes from the prepared foods shop at Wegmans, and then grates some of the sweet cheddar into them and bakes them.
Ok, she twisted my arm. But it wasn’t that hard to do. The cheddar was going home with me regardless. So..both the cheese and the asparagus definitely dictated my dinner that night. I decided to follow Caitlyn’s lead with the potatoes, and make breaded chicken breast over cheddar, garlic and caramelized onion mashed potatoes, topped with asparagus and parmesan cream sauce.
It was delicious. If you can find it, I highly recommend making these potatoes with the sweet cheddar, but if you can’t find it…I think any sharp cheddar would be fine! The asparagus and chicken were delicious…but the potatoes? The were truly the best part of the whole dinner!
Oh, and the paper towels? I walked out of the store that day with a couple bags… neither of which contained a roll of paper towels… I was totally caught up in displays that day..and completely forgot them…
Sweet Cheddar Mashed Potatoes with Breaded Chicken and Asparagus
The Mashed Potatoes
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
1/2 stick butter
1 tbsp milk (or more, depending on the dryness/moistness of the potatoes)
1 tsp salt
1 large yellow onion, chopped
A few fresh sage leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 oz sweet cheddar cheese, grated (Reserve four tablespoons for garnish)
Melt the 2 tbsp butter over low heat in a large frying pan. Add the onions and sage leaves to the melted butter, and slowly cook uncovered for about 45 minutes to one hour, or until golden brown. You will want to remove the sage leaves and add the garlic when there is about five minutes left for the onions to finish caramelizing. Five minutes after adding the garlic, add the balsamic vinegar, and continue to cook a couple minutes more, until reduced.
Remove all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of the onion mixture, place in a bowl and set aside. These onions will be used in the potatoes.
Leave the remaining 2-3 tablespoons of onions in the frying pan. This will be used to saute the asparagus, and then again for the cream sauce.
Bring the potatoes to a boil in a large pan of water. Boil until fork tender. Drain, and place the potatoes into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the butter, milk, and salt. Using the whisk attachment, mix until the potatoes are creamy and there are no lumps remaining…unless you like your mashed potatoes lumpy, then by all means, leave them lumpy!
Stir in the caramelized onions, and sweet cheddar cheese. Place in a baking dish, and keep warm in the oven on 200 degrees until ready to serve.
2 boneless chicken breast halves, split lengthwise
1 cup breadcrumbs
½ cup romano cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
Prepare your breading station using three bowls:
Bowl number one:.Add the flour, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Bowl number two: Whisk the three eggs.
Bowl number three: Add the breadcrumbs, romano cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Dredge the first piece of chicken in the flour mixture. After it is covered in flour, dip the chicken breast in the egg. When it is completely covered with egg, dip the chicken into the breadcrumbs, make sure that it is completely covered. Repeat with the other three pieces of chicken.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan on medium heat, and fry the chicken pieces until they are golden brown, about 15 minutes on each side, or until completely cooked. Remove from the pan, place on a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil (if you didn’t forget to buy them at the store). Place on a baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.
1 lb fresh asparagus, snapped to remove woody ends
Remaining onion mixture
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Add the olive oil to the remaining onion mixture in the frying pan, and heat over low heat. Add the asparagus. Saute until the asparagus is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove asparagus from pan, leaving some of the onion mixture in the pan, and set aside.
The Parmesan Cream Sauce
Add the heavy cream to the onions in the frying pan. Bring to a simmer, and add the parmesan cheese. Simmer until thickened. Remove from heat.
Assembling the Meal:
The potatoes will be the base of the meal, place one fourth of the potatoes in the middle of a dinner plate. Place a piece of chicken on top of the potatoes. Spoon the Parmesan cheese sauce over the chicken. Top with asparagus, and one tablespoon of grated cheddar.